THE BLOG

The Tragedy of Failed Policies

05/25/2011 12:05 pm ET
  • John L. Esposito Professor of Religion and International Affairs, Georgetown University

The tragedy of the Iraq War's fourth anniversary is the clear picture of
the Bush administration's failed policies: the spiral of violence and
terror, bitter sectarian conflicts, continued and at times escalating
loss of American and Iraqi life.

Ironically, the administration has unintentionally enhanced Iran's role as a regional player.

Equally tragic is the administration's failed leadership. The incompetence of post-invasion policies is now compounded by a politics of denial in the pursuit of a presidential legacy. At this stage in the war, increased American military presence will not solve Iraq's
seemingly intractable problems, many of which have been caused or
exacerbated by Bush's failed policies, nor is it a substitute for a
defined exit strategy and time-table. However chaotic the current
situation, Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people and their neighbors will
have to bear the primary responsibility in securing a future for Iraq.

Regrettably, the administration's failed Iraq policies are
exacerbated by its quiet retrenchment from its stated policy to promote
self-determination and democracy in the Middle East, as witnessed most
recently in Egypt, Palestine and elsewhere.

America has a remarkable group of analysts and diplomats in the State
Department and other government agencies. The Bush administration should
turn
to this under-utilized resource rather than political appointees and a
neocon legacy in formulating and pursuing its policy in Iraq and in
other parts of the Middle East.

The American and Iraqi people deserve better.